The Football Scholars Forum: Online Academic Communities

November 11th, 2010 |

¡Hola! My name is Alex Galarza and I am a History grad student at Michigan State researching Argentine soccer. I am very excited to participate in my first THATCamp as a BootCamp fellow. As my department’s IT specialist and tech evangelist, I am interested in teaching ‘hard skills’ to academics and learning how to best use technology to achieve my scholarly goals.

Academics discussing football

I have begun using web meetings as an academic platform for scholarly discussion outside of the traditional seminar. I co-founded an academic book club that meets monthly over Skype to discuss books on soccer. We always include the author in the discussion and engage directly with the material to assess its relevance and impact on our own research. This group includes graduate students, professors, journalists, and authors and averages around 10 people per session.

How do we best use videoconferencing tools, social media, and podcasting techniques to keep the group academically stimulating, fresh, and inclusive? What are the possibilities offered by tools like Anthologize, Twitter, and Omeka? Beyond book discussions, the Football Scholars Forum could become an academic community that actively shares its research, theoretical contributions, and collaborates with digitized sources to better inform investigations involving soccer and society. I also want to incorporate a digital humanities perspective into my dissertation process at an early stage, exploring the possibilities of a digital dissertation and scholarly collaboration via the web.

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